Identifying a Problem


Here are the top problems associated with files not being “print ready”:

• Rich Black Type (A.K.A. Built black type, cmyk text)

• Low Resolution Images

• Font Embedding

• Incorrect image area and bleed

• Transparency

• RGB Images

• Spot Color Overprint Issue


Rich Black

Text that is intended to be black that is using multiple colors of CYAN, MAGENTA, YELLOW and BLACK. In some print situations presses require that the color black use a build of CMYK to make the black richer. This is not the case with cold web printing. Black needs to be 100% black only. Any additional colors only make the text difficult to read and unprintable.

(Click here for the solution)


Low Resolution Images

The Printing Industry has been plagued by low resolution images downloaded from the internet at 72 DPI, scanned at a low resolution or shot on a digital camera using the lowest megapixel setting. These low resolution images have resulted in fuzzy quality that in the past has been acceptable by a lower standard of printing. Signature Offset recommends the resolution be set to 300 DPI for color and grayscale images to accommodate for any future line screen increases.

(Click here for a solution)


Font Embedding

Signature Offset requires that the fonts be embedded in the PDF file. There are many potential problems that can occur in our system when attempting to replace fonts in a PDF. We now red flag and reject ALL files submitted without fonts embedded. Signature Offset’s Distiller settings and the industry standard PDFX-1a setting both embed fonts.

(Click here for a solution)


Incorrect Image Area and Bleeds

It is imperative that your PDF files be the correct size when submitted.

• Image Area: Anything in a page layout that is not intended to be cut off.

• Bleed: Anything in a page layout that is designed to be cut off.

(Contact your local plant to confirm correct sizes here)



All transparent objects (drop shadow effects, feather effects, and opacity) need to be flattened prior to file submission. Objects are flattened in the PDF creation process by using the correct PDF settings. Signature Offset’s Distiller settings or the industry standard PDFX-1a setting both flatten transparency.


RGB Images

There can be undesired color shifts when RGB images are converted to CMYK or grayscale. All color images must be saved as CMYK and all black and white images must be grayscale.


Spot Color Overprint Issue

There is a known issue is InDesign when images or transparent objects can drop out when associated with Spot Color. (Click here for a solution)